27 September 2016

video killed the radio star

Sometime in July or early August the fighting between these two became unbearable. I wanted to punish them all the livelong day. Lock 'em up. Nate and I talked about it and we didn't really have any new ideas, so we tried the ol' incentive-earning game again. This time it was earning beans (!), dry beans (!), for being kind to each other. We like to call them kindness beans. That just goes to show how gullible kids are; you tell them earning beans is a big deal and they'll straight up believe you. Seriously, we just have two bowls and I transfer beans from one to the other and they care. Anyway, the problem was for me to figure out something they wanted bad enough to motivate them to be kind when they really really just wanted to scream--and the answer was really rather obvious: TV. 

I think I normally fall somewhere in the middle (or on the less side of middle?) of tv watching strictness, but over the winter and through my pregnancy of course that was one thing that grew and grew to suit my laziness. I wouldn't say it was out of control, but they were watching a show of any given length every morning and every afternoon and sometimes it added up to 87 hours a day (roughly). So the new system was that they could watch one short show (20-30 minutes) in the morning and once they earn all the beans they can watch a movie. And the funny part is that I am using like 100 beans. It has been ending up that they earn about one movie a week, which I think is Fine. Sometimes I'll just throw handfuls of beans into the appropriate bowl if they aren't earning quickly.

Has it worked? I don't know! Results like this are really not quantifiable, but under pressure I would say that yes, it is working. They at least watch less tv, and they probably maybe hopefully get along a little better. I have let them have a bonus show once or twice when Nate's working late, but overall we aren't having a hard time sticking to one show a day. And that's all about television small.

22 September 2016

say goodnight

Way back when Norah was two (August 5th) she was such a good sleeper. She would tell us she was tired, she would go to bed without any complaints, she would never ever come out of her room.

And then she turned three. And then there were tears, tantrums, door kicking and screaming. It was pretty un-awesome. We are pretty good at sticking to our guns and not letting the kids get away with stuff like that, but all of our discipline was very unhelpful and made things worse. After a few hours we'd find her asleep on the floor by the door with her light on and her room completely torn apart. It made me sad, but what's a mom to do? So dad took the kindness approach, was patient, didn't scold, asked if she wanted help with things, stopped threatening, let her leave the light on, and now we have to get her a drink or something most nights, but it's been a while since there was a traumatic nighttime scene. And now she falls asleep in her bed and Nate takes pictures of it. Atta dad.

21 September 2016

five months

Unfortunately the first thing to come to mind when I think of Magnolia being five months old is HOORAY that I'm almost half way done breastfeeding. 

She is such a strong little muscle baby. I think she gets it from me, and Gromma Trudy said it was from the Clarks. She spends hours every day working on her abs and doing push-ups and it really shows. 

14 September 2016


When Nate bought that t-shirt he has on he thought it was grey. Maybe a slightly purplish-grey, but grey for sure. Ha.
Everyone on the internet has noted the seasonal change. I noted it last week with the big wind, but now the temperatures have followed suit. The kids don't have to wait for the sun to go behind the house to get dad to play in the backyard, after dinner walks are not sweaty, my herbal tea is dual purpose again (heat and drink). I love any seasonal change, but obviously this one is the best. Seasonal changes offer a nice safe reliable change that you already know is going to happen so it's not one of those worrisome changes that happens from time to time. It's an acceptable form of change for worriers, or just for people who are tired of being hot all the time.

10 September 2016

fine house

Here are our most recent home "improvement" updates:
A couple of weeks ago we had some very nice gentlemen rip a hole in our roof to create a peak vent. They basically just sliced a slit down the length of our house. Okay, and covered it with a vent and shingles. It is hoped that it will prevent any moisture buildup up there in our vaulted living room ceiling.

The next day a sprinkler pipe we share with our southern neighbors burst. He and Nate and another neighbor from around the corner fixed it after a couple of tries. The first glue was 100% guaranteed and 100% did not work. That made neighbor Daines mad. 

Yesterday I took the cupboard doors off the cabinet to the right of our stove. I hope people don't think it is my weak attempt at "open shelving," because it sure would be a sad attempt if it were. If anything it looks like we can't afford cupboard doors. I just wanted to use that cabinet for once. With doors, nothing fits in there because of two things: it had a big weird spice thing in the door that made the door extra thick, and even with a regular door it would have been hard to reach in around and use the shelves because it's in the corner weird. So once again I chose function over form, but I don't know how long it will last until I'll have to put the doors back on out of embarrassment. But it's so practical. It is hard being so practical.
Nate passed this sagging building on his way to scout camp last month and knew I'd like to see it. Now that is 100% true, but what is practical about that, I'd like to know? 

07 September 2016

grooming/aging/some truths

I think the #1 indicator that Nate and I are getting old is our increased grooming practices. 
Example 1:  Nate bought beard balm so he doesn't look like Jerimiah Johnson. 
Example 2: The other day I looked like the old lady who lived in a shoe and I couldn't think of what to do about it. I routinely get dressed into clothes instead of workout clothes, I (usually) shower, and I wear makeup, but my extremely low standards for these things aren't cutting it anymore and I just avoid looking in the mirror (and delete pictures of myself). THEREFORE I decided to perform an experiment. I blow-dried my hair and I wore lipgloss and an outfit that didn't include my 5-year-old grubby grey boxy t-shirt. Well. I am older. No one confuses me for a youth anymore. No one is surprised when they hear my age beginning with a 3. Sometimes when you get older you have to spend five minutes on your hair. These are some truths.
Also true: Nate's increased maintenance is still substantially lower than mine. As you may have noticed all it involves is putting some product on his lovely Viking beard. This is most likely because he is 10 months younger. 

01 September 2016

the days up until second day

 We went on a date. It was jolly. He chose Big J's in Richmond because they serve "snow cones" with the food. But they don't, at all! They have milkshakes, and for some reason that word escapes him time and time again. 
 We bribed and wheedled and finally Nate put his foot down and plugged in the buzzers. He got that school trim that every good boy deserves.
 Day 1. He got on the bus and drove away. It was awesome, and I cried a little, but mostly held it together.
Day 2. They don't look like they miss him...
But mostly he doesn't miss us.

29 August 2016

the fact of the matter

Having a baby sort of gives me tunnel vision, and just out of view is the thing called fun. Or variation. Or effort to make my kids' childhoods special. I start thinking everything outside my strict to-do list is too hard and not worth the stress. And I'm sort of right, I'll admit. Doing less is definitely the way to go. But when it got to the point that I didn't even want to go to the pool with Nate and the kids he realized I was slightly off my rocker. So this month I have been slightly course-correcting, with the help of the slightly cooler temps coaxing Nate out of the air conditioned hibernation we've all sort of been hiding in this summer.
We have been to some parks, up the canyon, to catch frogs, and last weekend it was backyard camp time.

 The children, led by Captain Calvin, got ready at about noon.
We roasted hot dogs, ate watermelon and soda pop, mowed the lawn real quick, and then watched Harry Potter.

I put Magnolia to bed and then the other children and Nate and I lay on the tramp looking at the stars for a while. 
The kids were tired and happy and thought it was all very exciting. I liked it too; I don't spend a lot of time outside after dark these days, and I like to. It was chilly and cozy and then I went inside in case I was need as a dairy, and Nate and those two kids slept till dawn. Which is fortunately almost 7 these days. It was an awesome summer night, just in time for summer to end.

24 August 2016


Two weeks ago Nate went to scout camp. He was gone for four nights. 
It wasn't that bad, but I was really glad when he came back.
He was sort of surprised to have had a nice time, and I wished we could have gone as a family.
So I've decided to book a week long Peterson camp next summer. 
No merit badges required.

23 August 2016

like a cat and dog

 Once they were laughing
A little later they were crying
They played in the backyard so long I had to check out the windows to make sure they were still there
But then they hugged and ended up hitting moments later.
They were both in time out for a while, and were threatened several other times to be sent there.
 I have a hard time knowing where to draw the line in letting them work things out themselves. I'd like to let them, but I think my tolerance for screeches and whines is lower than the threshold for working it out, you know? How much is enough?
Kids these days.

But I tell you, they DO appreciate some carefully picked bubblegum-pink converse all-stars. Like hugging inanimate objects appreciation. 

22 August 2016

we face west

 The August golden hour is an actual event here. It is rose gold a lot of the time and makes everything look a little bit lovely. We like to take a circumlocution around the property at this time of day. It would really be clever if I used that time to tidy up the unmanageable patio but I don't. I either just meander around or I sit and look around at the glowing things.

Everything looks good except our lawn, of course. It's cool how you can see our property line by looking at where the dead grass ends. #winning

17 August 2016

mo-ommm! i know!

She says that to me every day, multiple times. Like, duh, mom; you are soooo lame.

Today she faceplanted running down the ramp outside the hospital after Maggie's checkup. A couple hours later, at home, she said, "Mom? Mom? Do you ever fall down?" I said, yeah, I fall down. She said, "I fall down sometimes too." Yeah, kiddo.

That rainbow outfit is typical of her choices. I want to try to make her dress like a 1960s child but every morning I end up letting her pick her own outfits. (By the way this video of 1960s kids clothes is ridiculous and I in no way think you will watch 10 minutes of it, but it is completely accurate as to what I'm going for. As opposed to what she's going for...) There is this one blouse I made her, a shortened version of a dress she wears to church (and likes), and I love it and sometimes contrive to have it be her only option. Monday when that happened she said, "I'll just not wear a shirt." She also flat out refuses to wear the knee socks. She is on board with the leather Mary Jane's, however, and thinks they're "fancy." So there's that at least. I still manage the pigtails nearly every day, though, and braids when I'm lucky. (Mom, are there any other fashions of your childhood I could incorporate that you think she'd go for?)

13 August 2016

spread your wings little one

 Calvin is about to start kindergarten and become a school kid. We are all so excited and only a little bit scared.
"Mom, when it was four weeks before you started kindergarten, were you a little bit scared that you wouldn't have any friends?" he asked.
I for sure wasn't, not being a worrier like he is. But I told him I was. Was that wrong?
 He has grown so much this summer. Like seriously, he is four feet tall. He sat on my lap to go down a waterslide last week and I couldn't even see over his head.

This week he sent me this letter. That is our address, by the way (and my initials!). He went outside and looked at our house number to make sure I got it. And I did! But that's because he just handed it to me. The inside had an index card inside that said, "Calvin and Nora" (which he didn't ask to help spell) and a heart. 
Kindy is lucky to have him. I just hope he will be able to 1. Stop talking long enough to do kindergarten stuff and 2. Not tell his teacher what to do all the time and 3. Find some sweet little friends. I am not really worried about any of the above, though. He will be awesome.

12 August 2016

olympic -or- if the internet's not here for airing complaints, what's it here for?

When I place Magnolia on the floor she has begun the backwards scoot - getting momentum from rocking and putting her little heels down, pushing off, and skipping backward one inch at a time. She's an athletic prodigy, in other words, and I keep trying to show her her fellow athletes at the Olympics, but as everyone knows, you can only watch the Olympics if you have cable which is insane. There is an antenna on our roof but we can't figure it out, so we just scoot around the floor restlessly, feeling left out and depressed. Thanks for nothing, NBC.